If Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction is correct, it looks like we’re in for an early spring (hallelujah!). That means warmer weather is right around the corner, which is amazing news for auto dealers. Automotive sales are strongly guided by weather and time of the year, and the same goes for your service department.
When it comes to marketing spend, a majority is usually put toward new and used vehicles sales rather than service. As an automotive marketing agency, we understand the importance of the sales aspect of your business, but the service side also brings in huge amounts of revenue that shouldn’t be overlooked. A strong service business can help customer retention while also bringing new customers to your dealership.
Now that we’re all thawing out from the colder winter months, here are some key opportunities your service department should be taking advantage of:
1. Warmer weather
The obvious point here when talking about Spring is the weather. Spring means warmer temperatures and longer days, which means more people are crawling out of hibernation and getting outside. If your customers are anything like me, my car tends to get neglected during the winter months. With all the snow and salt we deal with on the roads in the Northeast, our vehicles take quite a beating during the colder months. We didn’t get too much snow this year, but there still seemed to be a lot of salt! Once it starts getting warmer, I start thinking about replacing my wipers after all that winter gunk has built up, finally getting in to the dealership for an oil change (it’s just too cold in January!), getting my alignment checked after all those winter potholes I hit, and the list goes on and on.
As a service and parts manager, you should be thinking about how to get in front of people who have spring service needs – these could be your current customers, but you also want to focus on potential new customers who have yet to visit your service department. Start by compiling service offers directed toward these spring service needs by offering complimentary car washes, discounted oil changes and alignment checks. How do you get the message out there, you ask? I’ll get to that a little later.
2. Tax Returns
I’m sure you’ve seen the “tax time” auto ads usually focused on a dealership doubling your tax return to use on your vehicle purchase, but why not take advantage of these tax offers for your service department’s benefit? Come spring, people start receiving their tax returns and are finally able to spend money on those small service needs they’ve overlooked throughout the winter.
Why not put together a tax time coupon where you bundle a few of the post-winter maintenance offers together and offer a certain percentage off? We like to keep marketing consistent so if your sales department is advertising the tax time offer, carry that through to your service department.
3. Popular Car Buying Season but Not EVERYONE is Buying A New Car
Undoubtedly, auto dealers see an uptick in car sales once the warmer months start to creep in, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to jump the gun and buy a new vehicle. Many will decide to wait until next year or at lease a few more months and chances are those people will need to do some sort of maintenance to their current vehicle.
Utilizing your customer database to pinpoint customers who have had their current vehicle for 3+ years and haven’t been in for a recent service are the first people your service department should be reaching out to. CRMs have an abundance of email templates and outreach methods to help you with this process and you should be utilizing these tools. Your CRM is not just for the sales department, your service advisors should also be versed on all its capabilities.
Get the word out
Now that you’ve established your marketing opportunities for this spring, let’s discuss the best tools to get your word out without breaking the bank:
As mentioned above, utilizing your CRM is the first tool you should consider when targeting potential customers with your spring service offers. These people already have a relationship with your dealership, whether it’s service or sales, and feel some sort of loyalty to you. Segment your database by targeting sales customers who have never serviced with you and service customers who haven’t been in for 6+ months. Sending these customers a spring service offer via email might help bring them into your doors, rather than into a competitor’s.
A great way to reach individuals in your market area – who may not currently be a customer of yours – is with conquest emails. Targeting owners of vehicle makes your dealership can service, we send out your spring service offers as an email clickable with tracking links to your service page where they can then make an appointment. This method opens the door to potential customers you aren’t able to reach with database marketing.
Once the warmer weather hits, many consumers are going to hop on Google and search phrases like “cheap oil change” and “car wash near me.” Search retargeting gives you the capability to target potential customers based on these search terms without the high cost of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Once the campaign is triggered by the search term, the customer is served your display ad driving them to your site. This solution is much more cost effective than SEM and a perfect fit for a service department trying to get in front of the spring service shopper.
Utilizing the time of year to your advantage when marketing your service department will help keep you in front of potential customers and ahead of your competitors. At Digital to Dealer, we guide our clients toward the most effective solutions based on any given budget. If you would like to learn more about how Digital to Dealer can help with your spring marketing needs, give us a call at 877-958-4524 or contact us today!
Diana began her marketing career more than 12 years ago, starting in public relations, and moving to automotive marketing in 2013. Her extensive background of account management, mixed with her knowledge and experience of digital and traditional marketing, allows her to manage clients and staff effectively and efficiently.
For more information on how D2D can help, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org